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UK gay teen killed himself after being ‘bullied to death’

An inquest has heard how a 14-year-old boy, who had made 20 reports of bullying to his school, bypassed settings on his computer to research suicide methods
Ayden Keenan-Olson, 14, committed suicide after being 'bullied to death'.

A British gay teen has killed himself after being ‘bullied to death’ at school, an inquest has heard.

Ayden Keenan-Olson, 14, chose to take his own life by swallowing an overdose of prescription pills.

He left two suicide notes saying how he could no longer cope with the homophobic and racist bullying he experienced at his school in Colchester, Essex.

The inquest held this week heard how father Tim Olson found him dead in his bed on 14 March.

Keenan-Olson had come out to his parents just before Christmas, three months before his death.

His mother Shy Keenan, who works as a child abuse campaigner, broke down in tears during the hearing.

As reported by The Telegraph, she said: ‘My job is to protect kids online but I could not keep my own son safe.’

Keenan added: ‘He said he was gay and had found somebody he thought he loved but it was not reciprocated. We didn't care, we just loved him whatever.

‘After Christmas it was like talking to a different boy – since he was able to say out loud to people that he was gay.’

She described her son as sensitive and had wanted to start his own anti-bullying campaign.

Keenan added how her son idolized gay TV presenter and human rights campaigner Gok Wan, but was suffering years of verbal and physical abuse from other pupils who often called him ‘Gok’.

Philip Morant School’s head teacher confirmed the teen had reported up to 20 incidents of bullying since joining the school in 2010.

A police investigation found, in the month leading up to his death, Keenan-Olson bypassed settings on his computer to research suicide methods.

He had tried to commit suicide six months prior to his death.

The coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of suicide. She said it was not her job to attribute blame and made no finding regarding bullying or the school’s conduct.

But she did say the court ‘regrets’ the influence suicide sites have on young people.

Acting head teacher Robert James defended the school’s policies for how they dealt with the bullying.

‘As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe,’ he said.

‘We very much share the coroner's concerns about the influence of suicide sites on impressionable young people.’

Keenan is now lobbying for a new law to safeguard children online.

She said: ‘We have to change the laws in this country to protect children.

‘We must remove suicide websites from the Internet – it's got to happen. We can't have young people taking their own lives whenever they face problems or difficulties.’

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